Saturday, December 25, 2010

Giveaways ending on Christmas weekend

Lots of giveaways ending this weekend - good thing my dinner plans are pretty simple :) I'll put the roast in the oven in a couple of hours, other than that it's smashed potatoes with bacon and cheese, sauteed mushrooms (*blech* but the offspring loves them), spinach, salad and yeast rolls. I still need to make the cheese ball/dip (cream cheese, dried beef, crushed pineapple, worchestershire sauce and red onion - sounds disgusting but it's SOOOO good!).

I did get the Bake Me a Wish cake that I won from Little Yaya's yesterday, so my son can have that for dessert along with the chocolate cake I got. It figures, I've been DYING to try a BMaW cake for over a year, I FINALLY win one... and the offspring chooses Strawberry. I HATE strawberry (and he knows it!) but he didn't want chocolate. *sigh*

Here's what I've entered that ends today.

Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports is giving away a 'Dadgum That's Good Masterbuilt Pack' that includes:

I'd love to win this! It would be great to be able to prepare fried turkey (and other fried foods) indoors... I never want fried turkey when the weather is nice, it's always dark and cold, and sitting outside for an hour or more waiting for a turkey to fry is NOT my idea of a good time.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a gorgeous Happy Hour Timepieces Bottom's Up watch ($150 retail value). They have a built-in bottle opener (my son will LOVE that) and are very stylish. I especially love wide strap and buckle.

Look at What Mom Found…and Dad too has partnered with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), in an effort to get parents, specifically moms (and Dad too!), to set aside one minute a day this holiday season to teach their kids safety. The campaign is called Commit a Minute. To help promote this effort, they're offering 1 reader a $250 Visa gift card. Their readers have posted tons of safety tips (I know I have!), so there's a lot of great info this post. Some of it is common sense, but every year people suffer losses because they either didn't know, or ignored a lot of the tips on this post. PLEASE take the time to not only read this information, but educate your children - it could save their life.

Tomorrow, there's more great contests ending. Familylicious Reviews is giving away a George Foreman Evolve grill. Not only is it a George Foreman grill (HELLO!) but the plates are removeable! It also has different plates available so you can use it for baking muffins, cakes, deep dish pizza and more. Not only would the grill be great so I can prepare foods healthier, but the baking feature would be great since most of the time it's just me, and it seems so wasteful to heat up the whole oven if I want to bake something for lunch or dinner. I also love the digital temperature control, so I won't overcook or undercook my food.

Dealicious Mom is giving away a copy of Tony Hawk Shred ( Game and Board Bundle) for Wii, PS3, or Xbox (an $80 value). My son loves skateboarding and snowboarding so I know he'd love this game, and I think it would also be nice to add to my exercise routine to change up my Wii workouts.

Boarding not your thing? Well Dealicious Mom is also giving away two $50 Visa gift cards! According to a recent study conducted by Visa, 65% of consumers said they'd rather receive a Visa Gift card this holiday season instead of a “non essential” holiday gift, like a scarf, bottle of cologne or gift basket. I know that holds true for my family!

Rockin' Mama is giving away a Cool Whip/Kraft gift basket that contains a variety of products, with a retail value of $65! Not only does it have yummy Kraft caramel bits, Jell-O pudding, free Cool Whip coupons and more, it also has a pie pan and hand towels from Willams-Sonoma.

Merry Christmas? Ho, ho, no.

I've just not had any Christmas spirit this year. To be honest, I haven't had any Christmas spirit in a long, long time. Luckily my son is old enough that I really don't have to have any Christmas spirit.... it's not like he still believes in Santa.

Still, I'd like to feel like I used to about the holidays, if only a little bit. I had a glimmer of a warm fuzzy, but it was quickly snuffed out by people treating charity like a fucking ATM. I don't know why I'm stunned when I realize that people will lie about anything just to score something for free. Next year, I'll go back to what I normally do - helping my local battered women's shelter, and donating to Toys for Tots.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The One-Hit Wonder strikes again.....

I enter a lot of blog contests (this isn't news to anyone who follows me on either Twitter or Facebook). Most are run legitimately..... but the few that aren't really piss me off.

I was a little skeptical of one blogger when they sent me a tweet to enter their $100 Visa GC giveaway. When I looked at their blog, it was brand-new and VERY bare bones. I know enough to know that sponsors generally don't give away Visa gift cards - they give away their products and/or services. This was also the VERY first post the blog did. Another alarm went off.

I entered though because I'll give anyone the benefit of the doubt the first time... but I remained skeptical. I did notice that the giveaway also had a loooooong window, and as I posted more entries I observed the website got more polished. That in and of itself wasn't a red flag - heck, most blogs evolve.

When the winner was announced - "Yahira" - I thought hmmmmm. A one-hit wonder, who did the required comment but nothing more. No Blogger profile or email, either. It could happen I suppose, but how convenient.

As time went on the blogger hosted other giveaways.... heck I even won a couple of them, and got my prizes (they were all sponsored giveaways though). She also posted several reviews/articles, but they seemed to be better written than the posts that I knew were hers, which made me wonder if they were taken from other blogs. I didn't worry enough about it to do any digging, but it stayed in the back of my mind.

Then in the fall, she posted a $100 Amazon giveaway, and I thought to myself... here we go again. Is this yet ANOTHER fake giveaway to boost her blog so she gets better review offers? I entered though, because I still wasn't sure... but I watched it with a very critical eye. When it came time to pick a winner, "Amanda LeAnn" was chosen, and guess what? Another one-hit wonder (I looked through ~2,000 comments to confirm it). No Blogger profile or email address provided. Just the required entry, nothing more.

I guess this second "giveaway" was done to boost their standings so they could get Christmas presents to review? I don't know. I did stop entering their giveaways though because even though I'd entered and won a couple of sponsored ones, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

They just recently ended a $150 Visa GC giveaway..... and guess what? ANOTHER one-hit wonder won! Congrats to "Lindy Trent". Thankfully she did her one-hit wonder post late in the giveaway, so I wasn't forced to search through ~5,2000 comments to find it.

This really pisses me off.... especially since I'm STILL smarting from the whole CoutureNerd fiasco. I mean honestly, there is sooo much out there that can be won legitimately, or reviewed legitimately... it's so easy to boost your readership or page views... why post fake contests? I wish there was a better way to police this stuff.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve - wins, giveaways, and Walmart SUCKS

Only 2 days until Christmas! Well, a little less than 2 days, technically. I thought I'd be immune to the craziness leading up to the holiday since I'd managed to win most of my Christmas presents for friends and family this year... but then I decided to help out on The Bloggess. I've spent the better part of the last 2 days trying to get items ordered and mailed to some families less fortunate. Everything has gone smoothly, except for the clothing I ordered for 1 family from Walmart..... thanks a LOT, Walmart. Now I remember why I hate you.

I can't believe I spent literally HOURS on their website, trying to find items that were in stock and available to ship... entered the family's address for the ship-to, paid extra for 1 day delivery (because they need 2-3 days for processing... WTF?) so it would be there by the 24th.... only to check my order status last night, and find out they're shipping it all to me. *bangs head on desk* Several phone calls later, no way to stop it... so I ended up having to paypal the $ to the person who posted, who will shop for the family, and I have 4 packages on their way to my house over the next 2 days that I'll have to refuse.

On a happier note, everything I ordered from Amazon has either gotten to their families, or will be there today and tomorrow, although I don't know how Amazon makes any money. I have free Prime on my account, so I sent everything I could that way. Amazon is sending 1 box of crayons 2nd day air. I kid you not. *SMH*

I was hoping that helping out on The Bloggess would help me feel a bit more festive, but honestly I hate Christmas and can't wait for the whole damn thing to be over. But at least I feel a little better when I read that blog and know there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of families who won't hate Christmas as much as I do because they were either able to help someone else, or they got a little help for themselves.

I did get a couple of great wins yesterday. Kristin @ Take It From Me picked me as the winner of her ShaToBu Shapewear giveaway - a very welcome win, and something I will definitely get a LOT of use out of. Laura @ New Age Mama picked me as the winner of her Home Pro By Design giveaway. It seems silly to be excited about cleaning supplies, but I am (especially the kitchen and bathroom items). Mimi @ Marvelous Mom Reviews picked me as the winner of her Fashion To Figure giveaway, which is for a Bolero, Jeans and a Skirt! YAY! My clothes are too big, so winning this is a definite blessing!

There is a couple of blog giveaways ending today that I've entered...

Real Mom, Real Views is giving away an EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale. No need to tell you how much I'd love to win this. I've been struggling the last couple of days sticking to my diet - not just the portion control, but the endless food at work, the Harry & David Moose Munch and Truffles that arrived on my doorstep... *sigh* Although the scale can't help with the Moose Munch, it will definitely help me with the portion control which I desperately need.

Cocktails with Mom is giving away a set of curtains from CurtainWorks. I really need curtains for my office, so this would be great to win. I think I like these the best, and they would go with the color of the paint I picked out.

Lastly, Lisa @ Frugal Family Fun is giving away a $75 Sears gift card. We shop at Sears all the time (I love this one brand of laundry soap they carry, plus I'm always needing tools or something for the house) so this would definitely come in handy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

No rest on Sunday, if you're entering blog contests!

Another rash of giveaways are ending in the days leading up to Christmas. It's crazy how many prizes are out there to be won! Hopefully my good fortune will continue, as I've just about realized my goal of not spending any money for Christmas presents this year (even my son's car repairs are almost covered by gift cards I've won!). I've even been able to help on Bloggess' post. Reading some of those stories, my heart breaks - that could have been me. Heck, for a few years that WAS me. I forget sometimes just how fortunate I really am.

Here's what I've entered that are ending over the next few days:

Familylicious Reviews is giving away a pair of MiracleBody jeans. Since I've been losing weight, I'm a lot more "jiggly" than I used to be so this would be a nice win. Who wouldn't want to look 10 pounds lighter, just by putting on a pair of jeans! I wish they had a 100 pound version LOL Also, they're one of Oprah's Favorite Things, so they must be fabulous.

Songberries is also offering a pair of MiracleBody jeans. The great thing about Songberries' giveaways is there's no penalty for entering late - everyone can earn the same amount of entries. There's over 40 possible entries available for this giveaway, which makes for some great odds! This giveaway ends Wednesday at midnight.

Sammi's Blog of Life is giving away The Chef's Stir Pan by KitchenStir. This is an ingenious little appliance! It has a built-in stirer, so it's like having an extra set of hands in the kitchen! Plus it had a temperature range of 0-400 degrees, so you can set it to the perfect temperature for what you're cooking (I'm thinking making caramels, custards or jam, where the temperature is critical). This would be a great appliance to own!

The Fashionable Housewife has taken giveaways to a whole new level - I've entered FIVE that end today! She's offering a $100 instant gift card to, a $100 gift card to, a $150 gift card to for jewelry from, a pair of shoes or boots from Shoeline, and a $50 giftcard to one of Coinstar's retailer partners - I'd pick Amazon but there are several others. Coinstar is also running a promotion right now to help with your holiday shopping. Not only will Coinstar waive the fees on your transactions, but they've teamed up with five national retailers to kick off the Cash in $40, get $50 promotion. Through December 31st, if you cash in $40 worth on change, you'll get a $10 bonus on your receipt!

Blommi is giving away a set of Moziak disposable dinnerware (service for 8 which includes utensils, plus a covered serving bowl, serving utensils & pair of serving platters). I haven't seen these in my local CVS, but service for 8 for only $10 makes this a VERY affordable option the next time I have a party! I like that you can choose to wash and re-use these, or dispose of them if you don't want to be bothered!

The Mommy-Files is giving away a NESTLÉ Family Holiday Brunch Package, which includes a host of NESTLÉ products, and a $50 VISA gift card. We always do brunch on New Year's Eve so this would be a great win!

MomSpotted is sponsoring a giveaway by for a $100 Amazon gift card! is a shopping comparison site, but with a social media twist. Not only can you compare prices, you can review products, share finds with your friends and solicit their feedback, and so much more! I recently joined and I look forward to exploring the full functionality of the site. Not sure about the badges they have (they look a bit too Nickelodeon for my taste) but it's a nice idea.

Cat at 3 Kids and Us is giving away a Eureka Whirlwind Vacuum Cleaner (black), including Filtrete vacuum accessories. I would love a new vacuum. Even though I have mostly hardwood floors, I do have a couple of large area rugs, and they seem to attract dirt like crazy!

Two of a Kind is picking FOUR winners for some awesome prize packs from Alouette or Chavrie. I'm secretly hoping for the Alouette myself, but either would be great! We love their cheeses year-round but especially over the holidays - quick, easy and delicious party food!

Two of a Kind also has another giveaway, this one for a fabulous Jif prize pack that includes several jars of peanut butter and a Calphalon Gourmet Roaster! If I'm lucky enough to win this, it's going to my ex's mom. I figure with all the kids she works with, getting lots of free peanut butter would be a blessing! Every little bit helps.

Real Moms, Real Views is giving away a Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800! I'd love to win a new keyboard, and the fact that it's lighted would definitely be a bonus when I'm trying to work on the laptop in the living room, but my son has the lights off watching a movie. The laptop screen just doesn't throw off enough light (and I HATE the keyboard!).

Shannon at The Mommy-Files is offering a NESTLÉ Christmas prize pack filled with Stocking Stuffers, including WONKA Fun Dip books, a CRUNCH/Paul Frank Basket and a $100 VISA gift card!

Mom Start is giving away a Kodak Playtouch HD Video Camera! This would be great to capture all those special moments (like my son's graduation from college, I think he's gonna make it after all!!).

A Nut in a Nutshell and McCormick are promoting a virtual cookie swap, and in conjunction with that they're offering a great prize package, including McCormick spices and extracts, Martha Stewart cookie cutters, the book Cookie Swap! by Lauren Chattman and more!

The Bragging Mommy is offering one lucky reader an Orient watch of their choice from Orient's Standard Line! I'm not sure which one my son would pick if I won - I think one with a black face and silver/gold band is sexy (plus, he could wear it with anything) but he might go for an all gold one for that ultimate blinged-out look. This giveaway ends on Wednesday and she's offering tons of extra entries so even if you're late to the giveaway, you can really maximize your chances of winning.

Lastly, Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a Tortuga Carribean Rum Cake (the large 33 oz one)! I love these things. They are seriously one of the best things I've EVER put in my mouth. I know I'm trying to lose weight but the lure of the moist deliciousness of this cake is calling my name :) If I win, I don't know which flavor I'd pick. Chocolate? Pineapple? Original (with walnuts!!)? Key Lime? Blue Mountain Coffee? or Orange? They also have Coconut, Banana and Cinnamon Raisin.